Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The recent 35th convocation of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), was a testimony of excellence. The outlook was beautiful and the event was memorable.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello, had earlier disclosed that 9,571 students were set to graduate, including 6,174 first degrees, 2,269 Masters degrees, 107 PhD and 1,039 Post-graduate diploma students. He said the university would also confer honorary degrees on four notable individuals namely, Chief Folake Solanke, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, four times member of the Senate and Chief Tony Elumelu.
Although the ceremony was spread across the week, the convocation proper took off on June 14 with a lecture, chaired by Nigeria’s wartime Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd). The lecture entitled: “Revitalizing University Education in Nigeria in the Context of Triple Helix” was delivered by Professor Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC) and former Vice-Chancellor of BUK.
Gowon emphasised that universities, as centers of research, teaching, learning and innovation, are partners in the search for solutions to societal challenges. He disclosed that Nigeria has a total of 170 universities as at the end of 2018, broken down to 43 federal; 48 state-owned and 79 privately owned ones.
He maintained that expansion of the university system resulted in quantum increase in staff and students population; as well as in the number of programs undertaken by the universities. He, however, regretted that despite the increase, Nigeria universities have not done well enough and are in fact bedeviled by challenges, which affect their capacities to address a number of problems affecting the society.
He charged universities to be at the forefront in the search for solutions to the national problems of insecurity, corruption, unemployment, political instability, failure to industrialise and “indeed all the problems of development faced by the country.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, the Visitor, appreciated the university for its conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on three illustrious Nigerians. He urged the graduates: “Go forth to the larger world, out there, and showcase the high quality of knowledge and covetable character that you have imbibed from here.
“I need to restate here that Nigeria and Nigerians have no business with poverty and being poor. Our situation is a factor of long years of unpatriotic and dysfunctional leadership, in almost all helms and across most tiers of government.” He admitted that one area that has continued to challenge government “is the Nigerian economy, which took a nose-dive when it went into recession
“It is indeed gratifying to say that our security situation has improved appreciably. Boko Haram has been degraded and normalcy has returned to most parts of the North East. In this second term in office, we shall consolidate on the gains we have recorded in tackling insecurity.
“We intend to rise to the occasion by aggressively confronting other emerging security challenges, such as rural banditry, herdsmen’s menace, kidnapping and other manifestations of insecurity in our peace-loving country.”
The event was attended by Governor Umar Ganduje who sat next to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammdu Sanusi II.